Research Report: Undergraduate Student Perspectives on the Value of Language Study

Research report by Dianna Murphy, Director, Language Institute, for the February 28 Symposium, Reimagining the Future of Postsecondary Language Education.

Abstract: This presentation will share preliminary key findings from a Fall 2019 survey of UW-Madison undergraduate students (N=3,300) regarding their perspectives on college language study.

Key findings are related to undergraduate students’ perspectives on the value of proficiency in languages other than English, on students’ reasons for enrolling – or not – in language courses at the college level, and on factors that students report would make them more likely to undertake or continue language study at UW-Madison.

The survey instrument was developed with input from many UW-Madison faculty, staff and students, and with expert support from the UW Survey Center on item design and data collection. Colleagues from the Center for Language Teaching Advancement at Michigan State University, which is replicating the study on their campus, also provided feedback on item design.

Funding for the study is from African Cultural Studies; African Studies Program; Center for East Asian Studies; Center for South Asia; Center for Southeast Asian Studies; Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia; College of Letters & Science; Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies; French and Italian; German, Nordic, and Slavic; Spanish and Portuguese; and the Language Institute.